We’re here with another interview with a newer member of our community. The title of this column is “Lower Decks,” hearkening back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode titled “Lower Decks,” in which junior officers aboard the Enterprise-D speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.
This month’s interview is with the writer behind Ensign Gila Sadar playing a Female Mizarian medical officer assigned to the USS Artemis-A.
Nilsen: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. Let’s kick off with a bit about you. Tell us a little about the writer behind the character — where in the world do you hail from? Anything you’d like to share!
Sadar: Hi, and thanks for having me. Well, my name is Michelle and I’m a 30-year old Dane from the smallest Scandinavian country. I’m a teacher by trade – though currently unemployed – and I’m also a housewife and a mother. I teach English, Religion and History, which doesn’t reflect in how I’ve chosen to develop the Mizarian species at all. ::shifty eyes:: I’m obsessed with the Wiki, enjoy making convoluted stat updates and I’m the chatterbox in the Discord that you all secretly want to shut up most of the time.
Ha! You and me both. What was your introduction to Science Fiction in general and Star Trek specifically?
I’ve been a Trekkie for, uhh, maybe half a decade? I think? I first got into Trek through Star Trek Online, and it convinced me to give The Original Series a shot (because I’m incapable of jumping into ANYTHING on the midway point)… I remember encountering the Doomsday Weapon in-game and then watching the episode, like, a week later, and that was me hooked. I’ve never counted myself as a hardcore Science Fiction nut – I liked Star Wars as much as anyone who’s played Knights of the Old Republic, but I am a BIG fan of Mass Effect and Doctor Who. That counts as Sci-fi, right?
That very much does. What is your experience with roleplaying?
I’ve been roleplaying on-and-off since I was 12 years old, though this is my first time participating in a Play-by-Email type of roleplaying server. Play-by-Forum was very popular among the nerdy Danish teenagers when I was young, and that’s where I have the most experience. I also DM regular D&D Sessions and have played/DMed Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek Adventures, Pathfinder and Avatar the Last Airbender: Genre-wise, I’ve done horror, adventure, historical, fantasy and sci-fi roleplaying in one way, shape or form during my life.
What brought you to SB118?
I feel like this is a familiar answer to many, but I was looking for an online way of playing the TTRPG Star Trek Adventures more regularly. I didn’t have much luck, as finding online groups on a European timetable is tricky, but I did find Starbase 118. The Admiralty was very courteous in answering my concerns about time commitment, and I applied soon after.
Why did you choose this specific character and duty post? What was it about the combination of Mizarian and Medical that appealed to you?
I chose the Duty Post because, boring answer, it was one that was lacking players. More interesting answer is that it wasn’t long before joining SB118 that I first watched an episode of Deep Space 9 where Dr. Bashir steps into character and orders Major Kira to take better care of herself, and I thought that was beautiful. The idea of an officer who’s not near the top of the command structure, but can still step in and overrule his superior officers ONLY when he’s concerned about their health and mental well-being… It just made him cooler to me.
As for why I picked Mizarians, it’s really quite simple. First of all, I enjoy worldbuilding a lot – comes with being a perpetual DM – and I wanted to flesh out one of the ::inserts random number:: 724 alien species that Star Trek itself never really did anything interesting with. I also specifically didn’t want to look human, and as my fellow Artemisians can attest to, I’m spending a lot of energy on making Gila as alien as I can… Sometimes to their horror, but usually, it’s all in good fun.
The combination of Mizarian and Medical itself wasn’t a reflected ‘choice’ on my part – as I said, it all stemmed from the fact that Mizarians were a blank slate and Medical was in demand – but when it came to making Gila who she is, it was a really interesting idea. She’s a historian by heart, not a Doctor, and she’s struggling with some of the fundamental parts of being a physician, such as stepping into character in front of her patients and maintaining her integrity in the face of pushback. The feeling of Simming someone who doesn’t quite feel like she belongs in her duty post, because her life’s led her down a different path than she’d envisioned, is interesting and something I enjoy a lot, because it’s true to a lot of older people’s life experience, including my own.
I love this, you can really explore that part of medicine, where one is expected to act with integrity. Where do you see your character five years from now?
Be careful, Ensign Harry Kim, we’re coming for your record!! ::evil laugh:: No, in all seriousness, I am planning on keeping Gila an Ensign for a long time. She is not the type of character that would thrive in a position of authority, and barring some serious character development, it’s going to be a while before she’d be ready for that kind of step up. Then again, no plan survives an encounter with the crew of the Artemis-A, so they might force her to grow up ahead of schedule… I hope not. I’ve made a spot for the Ensign Prime-plaque on my wall! Though, I could always have her demoted again, I suppose… Mwehehehe.
If my plans do end up being foiled, I am thinking that WAY down the line, she’d either make the switch to being a Science Officer, specializing in History and Xenology, or she could fall in love with being a Doctor, and eventually become Assistant Chief (the idea of Gila as a CMO is terrifying…)
Thanks for your time, Ensign Gila Sadar!